As we continue to film the 2-hour PBS special about suicide and depression “Death is NOT the Answer,” premiering this fall in the state of Michigan, it is our goal to ask veterans to help us better understand post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. The team at Visionalist Entertainment Productions traveled to Fayetteville, North Carolina and had the honor to film with a few incredible individuals.

            As a Major in Special Forces, Ivan Castro has seen and felt the effects that war can have on an individual. After being injured by a mortar round in 2006, Ivan lost his vision and suffered several other major lacerations. He spoke with us about his time in combat as well as how he was able to reshape his life in the aftermath of his tragedy. Ivan is now an avid tandem cyclist and runner, regularly competing in the Invictus games, which were created by Prince Harry. (to learn more about Ivan, here is a video VEP produced about his story:

            Ivan also founded the Special Operators Foundation, a 501(c)(3) an organization devoted to honoring those who served in the United States Military. To support Ivan’s foundation please visit it’s website:

            Competing alongside Ivan as well as piloting their tandem race bike is his close friend Mark Vomund. Mark, also a veteran of Special Forces, suffered a similar attack to Ivan’s. Leading a K-9 unit with his attack canine, Herco, the team stepped on an improvised explosive decide (IED) leaving Herco with a leg and spinal injury. While Mark didn’t suffer the same physical injuries as Ivan, he walked away from the battlefield with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which changed his life forever. According to an interview we did with Colleen Vormund, Mark’s wife, he became a different person.

            Our interviews with Colleen and Mark highlight the importance of recognizing post traumatic stress symptoms and the mental help needs that veterans face when returning home.

            We also had the chance to interview Anna Perrott, who lost her husband in combat eight years ago. Now life is finally taking shape for her after a long, lonely journey of alcholism, drug abuse and depression.

            Another interview was with Meagan McCabe, a licensed marriage and family therapist, who is going through a divorce with her husband after he suffered a TBI and post traumatic stress in combat. Megan specializes in helping marriages in the Fort Bragg area that include combat active duty and veterans. A mother of a little girl, Meagan offered this sobering thought: I help so many relationships that deal with military, but I couldn’t save my own marriage.

            These interviews will be crucial as we explore the staggering statistics of how we as a nation lose, on average, 22 veterans a day to suicide.

            This collection of stories will add a new layer to our film about suicide and depression.

            To learn more about our film “Death is NOT the Answer” please visit the website and watch the trailer